A GAO decision was requested on a military member's entitlement to basic allowance for quarters (BAQ) during a period of temporary additional duty, a portion of which consisted of sea duty. The question arose because of a regulation which requires BAQ to be terminated for members without dependents while they are on sea duty for a period of 3 months or more. It is not uncommon for members assigned to temporary additional duty aboard a ship to be ordered ashore to permit the use of the vessel for other operational commitments. While these members are ashore, they may be assigned duties that are not considered sea duty. A member loses his entitlement to BAQ, under this regulation, as of the date he is to begin duty on board a vessel. If his orders are to perform duties defined as sea duty for 6 months, BAQ must be forfeited commencing with his temporary assignment. The member's time ashore would be merely supplemental to his sea duty and would not be considered to have changed the nature of his temporary duty assignment. However, if the member receives orders to perform duties ashore and such orders effectively terminate the member's sea duty, the member may begin receiving BAQ as of the date the temporary shore duty commences. Such shore duty must amount to a change in the character of the member's temporary duty and not be supplemental to the original temporary sea duty orders. Whether the member is entitled to BAQ during the period he was performing sea duty, prior to the time he was ordered ashore, depends on the length of time he was performing sea duty. If that period was less than 3 months, the member is entitled to BAQ for the period. If the time was 3 months or more, he is not entitled to BAQ. If the sea duty is terminated by duty ashore and he is later returned to sea duty, the 3-month period begins again.
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